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Be active, be free | Civic Europe
Social inclusion

Be active, be free

Civic education, mentoring and networking for youngsters (with focus on the Pomaks). Cross-sectoral cooperation promoting civic engagement, active citizenship, social inclusion for a better future


Who is behind this?

Yana Traykova

Bfree (Bulgarian foundation for research, education and entrepreneurship)


Who is joining forces?

Leader Academy


The mission of Leader Academy is to unite young people from different nationalities and cultures by providing a productive and creative environment for the purpose of self-discovery & personal growth


Idea pitch

Part 1-10 days training in topics such as leadership, active citizenship, self-awareness, diversity, social inclusion, the core idea of democracy in a rural area close to Gotse Delchev. Part 2 will bring people from different backgrounds together to help youngsters develop projects which solve locally rooted issues in their communities. Youngsters will meet mentors from the business, NGO sector, and local authorities for discussing project ideation & getting feedback on the implementation phase.

Where will your project idea take place?

At Recreational Center for Talent Development in the Pirin Mountain and the capital - Sofia.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Our experience in working with youngsters shows that those from smaller settlements often have fewer opportunities and hence low: self-esteem, low desire for risk-taking, and significant fear of failure. All this describes the current situation with Pomaks living rejected and detached. They will be communicating with integrated young people (Bulgarians and Gypsies) and exchange ideas. The lack of good examples and supporters in the local communities increases the possibility for them to give up on the idea of active citizenship, volunteering, and building community. Our goal is to provide these youngsters with opportunities - knowledge, ideas, and mentors that will bring value back to their communities.

Who are you doing it for?

The target group of the project is young people between 16 and 29 years (Pomaks among them) from the Gotse Delchev vicinity. The Gotse Delchev region lost its importance with the development of Blagoevgrad as an administrative, cultural and educational center. The lack of opportunities and initiatives in the region affects the development of youngsters. The 3-phase program (Bootcamp, Feedback from Working Professionals (experts), Mentorship Program) aims to provide them with opportunities (knowledge, developed ideas into community projects and inspiration) so they can go back to their hometowns and villages and carry out a project, which will help for the creation of civil society, holding discussions or teaching, passing forward the knowledge from the program.

How do you plan to get there?

1.Information campaign-online and offline to attract participants and raise awareness
2. 10-day training Bootcamp follows a well-established methodology for building leadership qualities, including indoor classes, seminars, discussions, games, outdoor activities, group and 1-1 sessions, workshops. Participants spend 10 days with trainers and learn through experiential and game-based learning
3. The 3 days event will help for developing ecosystems at the local and regional level, and expanding the scope of civic activities through the realization of new projects and attracting new audiences
4.Mentoring for 3 months, building a Website and creating a Facebook group for continuous exchange of knowledge and experience; keeping in touch with each other as well as with the team & mentors

What are the expected results?

During the project the youngsters (Bulgarians and Pomaks) will have the opportunity to create a vision, and meet other active people, with whom they can build real, meaningful, sustainable relationships and develop projects to engage the community actors. We believe that with the right strategy, plan, and support, the success of the youngsters who have gone through the program is inevitable. Success for us is more open-minded, confident, and active citizens, who work proactively for positive change; establishing a culture of living in diversity; using a wide range of opinions for creating the best solutions.
We believe that there would be at least 1 or 2 bigger projects and many smaller initiatives realized from our participants in their hometowns, villages and Pomak communities.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We believe that everyone has the right and the potential to act responsibly as a citizen and to take on advocacy for his or her interests and the interests of the community. And we know that the youngsters need just a little bit of courage, support, and inspiration to do so. 1-st Phase - the participants will discuss the needs and challenges in their communities, then participate in a 10-days Boot Camp where they’ll learn about impact, social inclusion, democracy and diversity, leadership, communication, fundraising, advocacy, volunteer management. 2-nd Phase, we’ll meet them with experts who will educate, inspire, and help them to implement their ideas. Last but not least - the 3-rd Phase - they will be part of a 3-month Mentorship Program.

Why is this idea important to you?

Civic Education and Social Inclusion are topics that are very dear to what we have been doing. Civic Education is something we (the people in Bulgaria) need the most at the moment. Our national slogan is “Unity makes strength”.
Social Inclusion:
The Pomak have an identity crisis. They have been rejected by both the Bulgarians (and their religion), and the Turks (and their language). The name Pomak means "people who have suffered." Throughout history, they have been considered the outcasts of Bulgarian society. We want to challenge this and give them access to opportunities. The biggest population of Pomaks is situated in the Municipality of Blagoevgrad especially in the villages close to Gotse Delchev.

€ 40000,-

Total budget

€ 40000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

approx. budget:
Accommodation - 6 000 EUR
- group of 25 - 30 people in Inter Resort Pirin for 10 days
- group of 25 - 30 people in Sofia for 3 days
Travel - 750 EUR
Rental - 4 000 EUR
Lecturers - 6 000 EUR
Mentoring - 3 000 EUR
Catering - 1 000 EUR
Administration - 12 000 EUR
- project manager and coordinator for 9 months
Interactive online platform (website) - 4 000 EUR
Publicity and communication - 2 000 EUR
Photo and video - 1 000 EUR
Other unexpected expenses - 250 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

What challanges do you have in your countries and local communities?
Any advices on how we can make this project better?
Would you implement this in your countries?




Idea created on May 22, 2020
Last edit on May 23, 2020

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